Earlier this year, chef Giuseppe De Falco and his wife, Sandra, opened their first restaurant together in what was once the waiting room of Montclair’s Walnut Street train station.
At Antica Stazione, De Falco’s recipes are inspired by his time in Avellino, Italy, where he went to culinary school and worked until coming to America six years ago. He now resides in Montclair with Sandra and their two sons, Lukas and Monserratt.
De Falco sees his restaurant as a tribute to his homeland and the meals made by his grandmother and family on Sunday evenings.
“I’ve worked my whole life for this restaurant,” he says.
What does Antica Stazione mean?
De Falco: Antica Stazione means “old station.” We are in [the former waiting room of] the Montclair train station. People will take the train, come inside, grab a beer. When I first saw this place, I knew it had been around for a long time. My wife had said we should call it Antica Stazione. I liked the name because it is true to what the restaurant really is.
What was it like crafting the menu?
I took this menu from Italy. I put the classics on it, and the popular Italian plates. Some of them are: spaghetti scarpariello made with fresh cherry tomatoes; spaghetti alla chitarra with seafood; risotto; lasagna. The menu is a mix of everything, which is nice, and it’s a pretty small menu.
Do you use Jersey produce in your dishes?
I love the New Jersey tomato. It’s really sweet; it’s the best. Every morning I make tomato sauce along with my pasta. I made a special dish, risotto il bosco, which means “the woods.” Everything in the dish is from the woods of New Jersey—blueberries, raspberries, mushrooms. It made a really nice plate. Everything is local, so there is no importing. New Jersey has very nice ingredients, and everything in the restaurant is homemade.
Do you have a favorite or signature dish?
My favorite is my risotto. I love risotto. Another traditional dish I love is a soup of broccoli rabe and cherry tomatoes that comes from my grandma and [goes back] generations in my family. People are very happy with it. Our rigatoni amatriciana is served under a [form-fitting] metallic [grate], and you grate the cheese on top. This reminds me of my grandmother, because every Sunday she would grate the cheese for my family on this kind of plate.
How has the Montclair community responded to your restaurant?
There are so many restaurants in Montclair, and it’s nice to see people come into my restaurant and be happy. It’s something different—really traditional Italian food. All the plates are different, and people are really happy with it right now.
What are you most looking forward to as you grow your restaurant?
I’m looking forward to a lot of new dishes and new traditions. I love all the ingredients I use, collaborating with farms and ingredients from New Jersey, and I just want to keep making food and making customers happy.
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